Book Review: The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

“It was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or a civilization—it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and the corrupt.”

Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

Title: The Power and the Glory
Author: Graham Greene
Genres: Classics, Literary, Christian, Historical Fiction
Pages: 157 (Kindle)
Published: March 1st, 1940

My Rating: ★★★¾
Read: 7/22/2023 – 8/2/2023


I’ve heard about this book a number of times over the years. When I began reading, I quickly realized my assumptions about the plot were quite different than what’s actually written. I was uncertain how much I’d enjoy it, but given that the book has been considered the greatest Catholic novel of all time, I wanted to see it through. 

Set in a time in Southern Mexico where religion — Christianity in particular – has been outlawed by the ‘Red Shirts’, one surviving priest is on the run. He’s been coined a ‘whiskey priest’ given his downfalls and deviations from Catholic practices. He finds many helpers along the way who help keep him hidden. 

It took me a while to get into the story. I latched onto the introspection of the priest, but my attention waned when it skirted off to the side characters. Though the paragraphs with lengthy and my focus wasn’t great at the time of reading, there were many quotes that resonated with me. I loved the raw, even ugly imagery of the struggles that humans face and don’t always like to admit to. It was especially powerful watching it through the eyes of a priest. While, yes, they are figureheads of the church, that doesn’t mean they are free of the temptations to make poor or even terrible decisions. In this case, watching the redemption that comes after such falls through a deep faith was inspiring. 

Even though I wasn’t completely captivated by every page, I can see why The Power and the Glory is a renowned work. 

Likes & Dislikes:

What I liked:

  • I came away with some amazing, journal worthy quotes.
  • I liked the portrayal of a struggling Catholic, particularly when that focus is on a priest and how he has to lean on his faith for spiritual healing.
  • It’s set in an interesting time period that I have personally never read before.

What I didn’t like:

  • For a relatively short book, I found it unnecessarily wordy Granted, this was a more common style at the time the book was written and published.
  • The POVs changed at random intervals.


I have one more of Graham Greene’s books in my library that I’m looking forward to reading too. I’m still on the fence about the writing style, but I got enough out of this that I’m interested in continuing my exploration of this author.

Where to buy the book:

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